Mayor calls for Tony Taylor’s immediate release

From left, Raymond McCartney MLA, Martina Anderson MEP, Mayor of Derry and Strabane Councillor Maol�osa McHugh, and Elisha McCallion MP pictured after visiting Tony Taylor in Maghaberry prison.
From left, Raymond McCartney MLA, Martina Anderson MEP, Mayor of Derry and Strabane Councillor Maol�osa McHugh, and Elisha McCallion MP pictured after visiting Tony Taylor in Maghaberry prison.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Maolíosa McHugh has pledged his support for the Free Tony Taylor campaign after meeting the Derry man in jail.

Speaking on his return from a visit to Maghaberry Prison today as part of a delegation, Mayor McHugh said this was a significantly important humanitarian issue.

Tony Taylor. 2509JM05

Tony Taylor. 2509JM05

He said: “Derry City and Strabane District Council earlier this year passed a motion supporting the release of Tony Taylor who is presently detained in Maghaberry.

“I am reiterating the call for his immediate release and have real concerns that he is being detained on a definition of probability.

“The current situation is having a detrimental impact not only on Tony Taylor himself, his wife and disabled child but the entire family and local community. ” he added.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion, who was also part of the delegation, said a united voice was now needed to help get Mr Taylor released.

The Foyle MP said: “I led a Sinn Féin delegation made up of Martina Anderson MEP, Raymond McCartney MLA and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, into Maghaberry Prison to visit imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor.

“His ongoing detention is wrong and is an affront to democracy an the justice system.

“We were told today that he is now being detained on ‘probability’, not facts or evidence.

“The continued detention of Tony is also placing a considerable strain on his wife, family and parents.

“Tony Taylor should be released immediately and we want to see a united voice coming from this city and beyond to end this injustice and see him released immediately.”

Tony Taylor was arrested 18 months ago and a decision taken by former Secretary of State Teresa Villiers to revoke his early release licence has meant he has been in jail ever since in what has been termed “internment by remand”.

Since his arrest, hundreds of local people have taken part in a succession of Free Tony Taylor rallies and vigils, including one in Guildhall Square back in July, which was staged in opposition to a decision by the Parole Commission to continue with Mr Taylor’s detention.

Mr Taylor (49), a member of the Republican Network for Unity group, was released from Maghaberry Prison in 2014 after serving a three-year sentence. He had previously been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.